Handle with Care is a story of revenge, redemption, and love.
Dr. Hunter Montgomery’s life has been filled with adrenaline rushes and rendering care, until it comes to a soul-crushing stop when he loses his partner. In the midst of his grief, he is promoted to Chief Medical Officer of Chase Care-New Orleans. Though he accepts the job to move forward, he’s walking directly into his past.
Dr. Selma Bryant, who has devoted most of her professional life to the US Army, now walks into Hunter Montgomery’s operating room and back into the life of the man she always loved. But the past has a way of ruining plans.
When Selma volunteers with Doctor’s Abroad at an African refugee camp, she leaves New Orleans with a secret. She may have run from Hunter, but she can’t run from the deadly outbreak claiming the lives of refugees and volunteers all around her.
As the fatalities pile up, Hunter and the Chase Medical team are called to action to save Selma along with 400,000 souls in the camp. And if they both survive this virus, can Hunter and Selma find their happily ever after almost twenty years in the making?
The Chase Care series is a medical/romantic thriller spin-off series from R.L. Dunn’s bestselling Chase Security Series and features heroes with heart and healing hands. Please be advised these stories contain adult content that may upset some readers. You do not need to have read the Chase Security Series to enjoy this one.
Robin has cleverly woven together another story that you are unable to step away from. Suspense keep the pages turning because you have to know how it ends. So much so that the idea of skipping to the end just to find out has some appeal. I didn’t but was very tempted to.
MONDAY, AUGUST 27, 2018
Where’s my second pair of hands?” Hunter Montgomery called out.
The doors to the operating room opened, and in walked Selma Bryant. “Hey, Hunt, I thought we’d have time to talk before this.” A nurse helped her into the gown and sterile gloves. “I heard about Pam. I’m so sorry.” Her Southern accent wrapped around him like a familiar embrace.
“Always good with timing, baby. I heard about Brutus too.” Hunt’s eyes twinkled when he used his nickname for Selma’s ex-husband. His name was Marcus, but Hunter thought of him as a conspirator.
Selma laughed. “You can still make me smile.” She bellied up to the table. “Doesn’t look too bad.” She glanced at the computer screen where the laparoscopic picture was displayed. “What was she shot with?”
“Tiny hole. Maybe a .22. My new director of nursing, Casey Reynolds, picked it up in the ambulance. She’s lucky. I don’t want any surprises. Help me run the bowel. Make sure there are no nicks,” Hunt said.
“You’re in charge.” Selma looked up at him, her eyes glittering. Hunter began the examination of the large intestine. The field suddenly filled with blood.
“Your instincts are always right. Pump that blood in. Hemostat,” she called.
“Debakey Clamp.” Hunt followed, and the two surgeons fell into an old rhythm.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
The hospital’s cardio-thoracic surgeon was on the side of the table, and to his left stood the other trauma surgeon, Selma Bryant. A long incision cut through Josh Stone’s chest. His rib cage was spread open, exposing his heart. Dr. Hunter Montgomery’s fingers held a hole closed as Josh’s heart beat. “Let’s stop the heart.”
The anesthesiologist administered medication. The heart-lung machine took over to circulate blood to the patient’s body. “The patient is on-pump, time 1143,” Hunter announced, then his eyes met Selma’s. They told it all. The patient was in grave condition, and he needed her help.
“Coming off bypass. Paddles ready?” the thoracic surgeon called an hour later. Josh’s heart sat pale and unmoving inside his chest. The paddles discharged, but the heart remained still.
“Damn it, Josh. I’m not losing someone else this way,” Hunter said as he squeezed the still heart. He called again for de!brillation with no response. “Intracardiac epinephrine. Defibrillate again.” There was no reaction.
“Hunt, I’m sorry,” Selma said.
He kicked the wheel of the table in anger. He should have been able to save his colleague and friend.
“Paddles now, we have motion.” The heart surgeon grabbed them from his scrub nurse and, once he’d cupped Josh’s heart, he pressed the buttons. Josh’s heart beat: one beat, then two, then three, each time picking up speed and strength.
“You turd. I’ll get even for this,” Hunter joked as he and Selma worked together to wire and close his chest. At the end of the procedure, he walked Josh into the recovery room. Assured Josh was being well cared for, Hunter returned to the surgeon’s locker room. Sitting heavily on the bench, he held his head between his hands.
Selma Bryant stepped from the showers, wrapped in a towel. “Hunter, are you alright?”
He stood and walked toward her. “I will be.” He took her face between his hands, and, slanting his mouth, he kissed her with explosive intensity as he pulled her towel free. She jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist, throwing her arms around his neck. She met his kiss with equal ferocity as he pressed her back into the showers.
SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2020 Dr. Hunter Montgomery leaned in the doorway of the bedroom he shared with Dr. Selma Bryant and watched her apply some makeup, not that she needed it. Her raven locks sat against her shoulders, and her luminous eyes, accented with flecks of violet eyeliner and mascara, brightened her porcelain skin. Her ruby lips contrasted against her black dress, its sweetheart neckline outlined with Swarovski crystals. Selma swiveled in her seat and caught his expression. “You still look like you did years ago.”
“Hmm, like I’m a twenty-five-year-old kid?” He stalked toward her wearing his tuxedo pants.
She cocked her head and smiled. “No, like you want to ravish me.”
“I did the minute I saw you looking like a wide-eyed doe at age twenty-four, and I do now.” He kissed the top of her head. “Lips I could spend a lifetime kissing.” He leaned down, running his tongue up the length of her neck, along the angle of her jaw until he seized her mouth in an explosive kiss. Selma melted into him. The intensity of his desire exploded.
TING, the clock chimed. “Oh, baby, we need to go. The Chief Medical Officer and the Chief of Surgery can’t be late to the party. But be ready. We have three days off, and I’m not letting you out of this bed.” He pulled her to standing and turned her so her back was to him. “Did I tell you how beautiful you look?”
She blushed demurely. “Hunter, look what you do to me.”
“Sel, you have something on your chest.” He slipped a finger along her cleavage, revealing a diamond eternity pendant.
“Oh, Hunter,” she sniffed as he affixed it around her throat. “You still can surprise me.”
“I’ll never stop trying,” he said, then finished dressing just in time for their car service to pick them up. Two years after Hurricane Greta, Chase Medical was hosting the Chase Hospital-New Orleans gala to benefit medical deserts throughout the United States and its assigns.
Kip Brennan, CEO of Chase Medical-New Orleans, gave one of his notoriously short speeches and introduced Hunter.
Hunter’s lips turned up in amusement. “Thank you for your warm word,” he teased. “Ladies and gentlemen, in our very short tenure, our incredible staff has left an indelible mark. Our mission is to provide medical stability to the wonderful people here in New Orleans. We also, thanks to your generosity, are able to provide that stability elsewhere. Usually in these speeches, the speaker…that’s me—” He flashed a roguish smile. “… thanks to the many people who helped make this all possible. You know who you are. But there are two people who restored my faith in life and medicine.
To Ian Chase, who gave me an opportunity I didn’t know I wanted but one I needed. Ian, thank you.” Ian nodded.
“And to Dr. Selma Bryant—first for being a gifted surgeon who keeps me and our entire surgical department on our A game. For nearly twenty years, she’s made me a better doctor. And second, thank you for restoring my faith that I deserve happiness. The joy you bring me is immeasurable.” He blew her a kiss. “Enjoy your evening.”
When they returned home, Hunter ravished her as promised.